Book review

Book Review

Title:  From Genocide to Generosity: Hatreds Heal on Rwanda’s Hill
Author:  John Steward
Publication details:  Carlisle, UK: Langham Global Library, 2015
Sumbookmary:  John Steward served in Rwanda with World Vision in 1997, where he was engaged in reconciliation activities and programs in the aftermath of the 1994 genocide.  He has since undertaken a number of short visits, with 2012 being the most recent.  This book shares insights and lessons learnt from this engagement, within the church and beyond, and gives voice to local staff and friends in the ministry of reconciliation by narrating their experiences and contributions.  There are descriptions of programs that encourage transformation and healing between Tutsis and Hutus such as workshops on personal development, healing the wounds of ethnic conflict, healing of memories and community restorative justice.  Sharing these stories gives hope that change can take place after such trauma and acknowledges the generosity that has flowed, even if there is still much more healing that needs to take place.
Evaluation:  I am delighted that one of my many mission companions has told this story and been vulnerable about his personal journey through this ministry.  This book is significant for a number of reasons. Firstly, this book addresses the need for reconciliation within our communities, a theme which lies at the heart of the gospel, and challenges us to be authentic in our practices. Secondly, the book highlights the significance of transformation through the use of a number of intentional, best-practice activities, education programs and resources that seek to demonstrate what genuine forgiveness looks like. A number of these programs are based on traditional approaches to healing and community peace building, and use indigenous art forms in communication.  In short, this book bears witness to the power of the gospel in a world crying out for holistic healing, and provides ways to practically respond to the reconciliation needs of church and society, which are relevant for all Christians, including us living in Australia.
Reviewed by:  David Turnbull

John

Born in Adelaide, South Australia
Grew up in Java, Indonesia
Educated high school and agriculture in Adelaide
Theological education in Brisbane
Overseas experience in Asia and Africa, North America and Europe

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